I am an Educational Publisher and I have three "business children", Think French, Think Italian, and Think Spanish. I know I shouldn't have a favorite "child", but I do. My favorite is, Italian. I love everything about Italy; the food, wine, art, architecture, culture, and did I say food? I also love Italian idioms and sayings. One of my favorite Italian sayings is "Dolce far Niente", which means "the sweetness of doing nothing." It does not mean being lazy, it is referring to the pleasure one gets from being idle. The ability to completely enjoy and savor a moment. For Italians this concept is a part of every day life; spending time with friends at a café, sipping wine at sunset, talking a stroll around the moonlit piazza. Dolce far Niente is something Italians embrace and something they do very well.
If you took the time every day or every week to experience Dolce far Niente would it change your quality of life? Instead of spending your free time catching up on your Netflix queue, checking your email one more time before bed or using the extra 10 minutes you had to spare this morning to make a to-do list... what if you did nothing?
7 Ways to Experience Dolce far Niente in Your Life
Disconnect! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not Dolce far Niente. Getting lost online can drain your energy and hours on social media becomes a waste of time. The "sweetness of doing nothing" is the exact opposite. If disconnecting entirely for a day sounds like an impossible task, start in small doses. Turn your devices off an hour earlier each night or enjoy your coffee in the morning without staring at your phone or iPad.
Get rid of your guilt. We live in a society full of planners, producers, and consumers. We often measure the success of our day by how much we got done and what we accomplished. Getting rid of guilt about your "to-do" list or what you "should" be doing, will help you fully experience some Dolce far Niente moments.
Turn off your TV. Watching TV can be a stress reliever for some people but in excess amounts it robs you of your time. Give up TV for an hour and replace it with a walk around the neighborhood and connect with nature.
Have a day of rest. This is an important ritual that many religions still observe, whether it's Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Having a day of rest is a practical idea but most people I know have lost touch with this practice. Try declaring one day of the week (or month) as a do-nothing day. Skip the chores, ignore your work emails, stay home, enjoy your family, and savor the day.
Find your inner artist. Draw a picture, write a poem, practice guitar, try a new recipe. Taking the time to cultivate your creativity is relaxing and a good way to discover what is inspiring and beautiful around you.
Revisit Naptime. Research has shown that naps arent just for toddlers. A daily snooze can reduce the risk of heart attack and lower stress levels. A nap doesn't have to be at your home or office. You can go to a quiet park and close your eyes, listen to the birds and smell the grass. This quiet moment of nothing can be profoundly healing.
Skip a few chores. You don't have to load the dishwasher the minute everyone is done eating. After dinner skip the dishes and watch the moonrise, stare at the stars or savor a dessert. Taking a break can show us that the earth will not stop spinning if we pause the tasks that face us.
At first it might feel like doing nothing is hard work. Think back on your last vacation. Did it take you a few days to unwind and let go of work and chores and all day-to-day stresses? Now imagine the last few days of a vacation. You are relaxed and carefree and you could lounge on a beach staring at the clouds all day, right? While it's not realistic to go through life feeling as relaxed as you are on the last few days of vacation; the point is you can add these moments to your life every day. With moments of niente, your overall stress levels will be reduced; you will slow down and look at the world in a different light. It is at these times that you will begin to appreciate the simple things in life.
How will you add sweet moments of doing nothing to your upcoming week? If you're successful, let us know. We'd love to hear about your Dolce far Niente moments. And if you must make a to-do list, add Dolce far Niente to the top!